Circular Economy & Plastics
In Scotland, we currently consume as if we had three planets available to produce the resources we use and absorb the waste we create.
Scotland’s material consumption accounts for 82% of our entire carbon footprint.
Moving to a circular economy – one in which materials are kept in circulation for as long as possible, will reduce our material demands and is key to meeting our climate commitments.
In order to move towards a circular economy, major changes to the way we make products and consume resources will need to be made, bringing economic opportunities and innovation.
Consuming the planet
Over-consumption by the wealthy few is pushing our whole planet to breaking point. Rich-nation economies like Scotland are built on the idea of unlimited growth, forcing consumption levels that are driving the climate crisis.
We need our leaders to make decisions on the basis that consumption must have limits, so that we can play a vital role in the road to social and environmental justice.
A better economy
Research has shown it is possible to live a high quality life on a sustainable level of material consumption of about eight tonnes per person per year. Scotland’s material footprint is currently more than double this figure.
Keeping materials circulating in our economy for as long as possible would reduce the burden on the countries where materials are sourced, often through dangerous practises, and reduce the waste that is disposed of with harmful processes like incineration.
What we are doing
- Putting pressure on the Scottish Government to include robust carbon footprint and material reduction targets in the Circular Economy Bill
- Building public awareness and understanding of the need for a circular economy
- Influencing decision makers to stop harmful waste disposal practices
- Engaging communities in the fight against new incinerators in their area.
Scotland has the materials, skills and demand to make this circular narrative a reality. We need a government willing to take bold steps towards a circular economy.Kim Pratt, Circular Economy Campaigner
- The Scottish Government has put a moratorium on new incinerators and is conducting a review into the future of these polluting installations
- A bottle deposit return scheme for Scotland will be implemented next year with the potential to significantly reduce our amount of waste
- The Scottish Government has banned a range of single-use plastic items, including plastic cutlery, plates, straws and expanded polystyrene food containers and cups.
Tackling clothing’s impact on the planet
ApparelXchange talks to us about the impact of clothing on the planet and how their initiative is helping to tackle it.
Carbon capture won’t limit the damage of incineration – it’ll make it worse
The impact of incinerators won’t be reduced by carbon capture and storage. We need to stop burning waste.
Waste workers deserve a fair pay deal – supporting the strike
We fully support the current strikes by waste workers as an important part of fighting for a more sustainable and fair future.
Latest Press Releases
New stats reveal Scotland is sending more waste to incineration and landfill
New statistics reveal that Scotland sent more waste to incineration and landfill in 2021 than in 2020.
Plans to demolish Wyndford Estate are unsustainable
Plans to demolish four blocks on Wyndford Estate in Glasgow go against the council’s climate commitments.
Programme for Government 2022-23 reaction
Commenting on the Scottish Programme for Government, Friends of the Earth Scotland’s head of campaigns Mary Church said: “There is a welcome recognition in the Programme for Government that the…
Response to the circular economy bill consultation
Our response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the Circular Economy Bill and Route Map.
The case for consumption-based targets
The Circular Economy Bill, currently being consulted on by the Scottish Government, is a timely opportunity to establish consumption-based targets for Scotland. Read our paper on why this is important.
Steel – position paper
Circular Economy in Action around the World – Lessons for Scotland
This report looks at circular economy case studies from around the world, and how they could benefit Scotland if they were implemented here.
National Planning Framework 4 Consultation Response
A manifesto for local authorities – 2022 Council Elections
This manifesto sets out some of the priorities for action that parties should champion in their manifestos, and the policies that should be taken to deliver them.
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Find out and register for our latest environmental events across Scotland and online
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